Last year I was all excited about 3D printers and now I can’t stop thinking about Wireless Sensor Networks in smart objects. People are calling it the Internet of Things.
Wireless sensor networks, like ANT, consists of spatially distributed autonomous sensors to monitor physical or environmental conditions such as temperature, sound, pressure, etc. to cooperatively pass the data through the network to a main location for archive and study. The development of wireless sensor networks was motivated by military applications such as battlefield surveillance; today such networks are used in many industrial and consumer applications, such as industrial process monitoring and health monitoring.
ANT+ is an interoperability function that can be added to the base ANT protocol. This standardization allows for the networking of nearby ANT+ devices to facilitate the collection and interpretation of sensor data. For example, ANT+ enabled fitness monitoring devices such as heart rate monitors, pedometers, speed monitors, and weight scales can all work together to assemble and track performance metrics.
I think it would be fun to use this technology in a kit of small cubes or boxes with a mothership switch box for various hack experiments. I can envision using TinyOS and Raspberry Pi for project applications. Program ideas include simple remote control hacks for iTunes, Smart tv dashboard controls, weather station response switches and exercise data without needing a Nike+ fuel bracelet or the like.
Consumer product brands could differentiate themselves by adding hackable components to their range. I would advice clients to sponsor a contest for hackers to write open source projects using the product and give the winner $5,000.00 Launch the contest online with updates and praise for participant’s progress.
You would do this because the activity creates a story worth sharing in the press and the entire campaign should cost less than general advertising and marketing. Creating attention and trust for your business is important and this example can keep your company top of mind with customers.